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Spondyloarthritis in over 16s: diagnosis and management

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Last updated:15th Jun 2018

This guideline covers diagnosing and managing spondyloarthritis that is suspected or confirmed in adults who are 16 years or older. It aims to raise awareness of the features of spondyloarthritis and provide clear advice on what action to take when people with signs and symptoms first present in healthcare settings. It also provides advice on the range of treatments available.

Spondyloarthritis encompasses a group of inflammatory conditions with some shared features, including extra-articular manifestations. Both peripheral and axial joints can be affected. The spondyloarthritides are distinct from rheumatoid arthritis but are as important to recognise and manage early in their presentation to improve health outcomes.

Most people with these conditions have either psoriatic arthritis or axial spondyloarthritis, which includes ankylosing spondylitis. Ankylosing spondylitis and non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis primarily affect the spine, in particular the sacroiliac joint. Both conditions present in similar ways; the primary classification difference is whether sacroiliitis is detectable on X-ray.

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